“As I grew up working in the restaurant business, I learned at an early age that if you delight the customer with an unexpected experience, great things can happen,” opines Jim Kinney, President and CEO of Kinney Group. Kinney founded Kinney Group, Inc. (KGI) with midwestern sensibility and a vision for high-touch customer care and contemporary approaches for data center solutions. The company designs and builds modern data center solutions for the Department of Defense (DoD), Intelligence Community (IC), and civilian agencies. “I founded the company on a simple premise: to take advanced techniques and technologies found in contemporary commercial data centers on the coasts, and bring those innovations to DoD and IC agencies while also addressing their unique requirements for security and systems accreditation,” explains Kinney. Working for some of the most demanding government programs and organizations, KGI creates custom solutions in its practice areas of next-generation data center technologies, process automation, and IT operations analytics.

Use of emerging platforms such as all-flash storage arrays is a great example of how contemporary thinking can dramatically improve service levels and security, while at the same time significantly drive down overall costs.

“With the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, IT funding for DoD and IC agencies is under downward pressure. Though mission tempo has not subsided and mission systems are no less complex, these agencies are under increasing pressure to reduce both operational and capital expenditure costs. We passionately believe that these agencies can leverage contemporary approaches to reduce costs, while at the same time providing better service levels to their stakeholders,” explains Kinney. “Use of emerging platforms such as all-flash storage arrays is a great example of how contemporary thinking can dramatically improve service levels and security, while at the same time significantly drive down overall costs.”

Deriving from Wayne Gretzky’s theory of “skating to where the puck will be,” the company’s strategic focus is on emerging technologies that will aid Federal data center operators in creating more agile and secure capabilities, while also driving down costs. “Our mission is to help DoD and IC programs skate towards where the puck is going to be. A great example of this strategy is our early work with Pure Storage, as the company is now recognized as the leader in the growing all-flash storage array market segment. We began our journey with Pure in 2011 before they even released their first product,” explains Kinney.

With one of our DoD customers we used automation to reduce the manpower for deploying a complex system from over 80 hours of manual effort to just 6 minutes

“At that time, we really believed in the emerging potential of solid state storage, and fell in love with Pure’s simple value proposition of building a secure storage platform that provides the performance of flash storage at a cost less than traditional disk.” The result of this prescient thinking has enabled KGI to build high-performance VDI and private cloud solutions that have been accredited on secure networks and are supporting critical missions today.

128GB NAND memory chip128GBs of MLC NAND flash. Fingerprint in size. Mammoth in storage.

“We focus on trying to make things simple. By leveraging next-gen data center technologies, automation, and analytics, we can enable even the most junior personnel with the ability to effectively deploy and sustain complex mission systems. As an example, with one of our DoD customers we used automation to reduce the manpower for deploying a complex system from over 80 hours of manual effort to just 6 minutes,” explains Kinney. Kinney Group designed, built, secured, and accredited a private cloud capability that is in production today that uses this automated capability. The company believes that literally any DoD community or activity could leverage this design to quickly bring a private cloud capability to their agency. “One of the key things that we have been able to do is harden and accredit advanced platforms that enable private cloud capabilities to work on secure networks such as SIPRNet and JWICS,” elucidates Kinney. “We have done so in a fashion that creates a reference design that any defense or intelligence agency can leverage and quickly be able to implement a private cloud capability.”

With the commitment of delivering “the unexpected experience,” Kinney Group continues to leverage next-generation technologies and use proven engineering practices combined with agile development principles, to create customized, cost-effective solutions for the next generation of Federal data centers.”

Kinney Group was recognized as one of the “Twenty Most Promising Defense Technology Solution Providers” for 2014 by CIO Review Magazine, which is the source for enterprise solutions information. This essay was published in CIO Review Magazine: Defense Technology Special in January 2015.